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November 30, 2005

Who am I? What am I doing here? What am I supposed to be doing?

We cannot predict the future. We can make plans but we cannot know for sure that those plans are what we will be doing 5 years from now or even a week from now. We cannot know for sure. There is something about this that forces us to examine where we are at right now and to discern the best choices for us right now. We are supposed to be right where we are, at the current moment. Part of what God wants for us is to make better and better choices and be more aware and loving. We all have extreme free will, so we do as we will and it's all up to us. We already know that worrying about the future is futile. Yes, we can make choices and plans that take us down a certain path, and that is useful, but doesn't guarantee we'll stick with it or that it won't turn into something else. This is why "HOW" we live is critical. What we do with our time is optional and self-directed. The other thing God wants for us is to love ourselves. We are too often too critical of ourselves and damage and devalue ourselves. We cannot love others if we do not love ourselves. Not in the sense of being self-centered, but in a caring and healing way. This is where we are supposed to be. One thing I keep asking myself is, is this the best use of my time, talents, resources and special gifts? Are you good with children? There is a reason. Are you good at organizing other people? There is a reason. What do you enjoy doing? What is in your heart? What do you feel strongly about? Are there needs for your special touch around you? How we live is very important. How we treat others is very important. I'd say by those measures you are on the right track. What is in our hearts IS our purpose as we go through this moment and each moment after it.
Haha, nobody every said our purpose also pays the bills, though that would be nice. But then again, often I find that I have to pay in one way or another to do my purposes in life. If you are doing good, Keep at it! If we look for purpose we will surely find it or it will find us!

Posted by carl1236 at 10:22 PM

A beautiful Love Story

Today I was feeling a little heavy with all of the stuff going on at work and I decided to treat myself to a warm smile, café mocha and a cookie. It was a very nice break. I just love Anne, the owner of the Boiler Room coffee shop in Downtown St. Paul. She is so nice. She is a good-hearted person.
So I was sitting there eating my cookie and sipping on my mocha and Anne was talking to a friend who was telling about her relationship. I was trying not to listen in, but I was sitting right next to her so it was kind of hard not to. It was such a good story that I almost cried. Anne’s friend was being empowered in her relationship and and that was a big step for her. I had to ask for a lid and get out of there before I got all teary-eyed. She was so happy inside it was bubbling out. I’m happy that she had a friend like Anne to share her love story with and that I was there to hear it. I told her it was a beautiful story and wished her the best.
On my way back to the office I was just walking along and the snow was falling and every step was in pace with the snowflakes falling and my mind was calm and happy and I was blessed by a real break from work and all of the negative thoughts. I felt light like the snowflakes. I remembered a phrase that a friend uses often, “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle.� I think It’s a good phrase and when my heart gets heavy the timing of some lightness is appropriate. On Monday I almost got hit by a car and the blog site was down and my boss wasn’t speaking to me and then Monday evening I had a good chat with Andy and his enthusiasm was contagious and made me realize that yes, this is a good thing we are doing. Then last night the students from Mac were at the bike shop and they bought a tandem bike and started renovating that for use on campus. It was so cool that they were so excited about it. And since I took a couple of days off from riding my bike after my near death experience, they gave me a ride home.
I think we need a warm smile and some affirmation that yes, we are doing ok and are on the right track. And a little light-heartedness can go a long way! I have really appreciated the help from everyone this past week. Life can be a beautiful love story.

Posted by carl1236 at 4:06 PM

November 29, 2005

S.A.D.

Part of the SAD, (Seasonal Affectiveness Disorder) syndrome is not related so much to the ugliness of the grey or the persistant rains or the length of the cloudy-rainy times, but the LACK of the nutrients and energy provided by the sun. This effect magnifies itself the more isolated we are from nature. People who lived closer to nature, right out in it, did not suffer nearly as much as modern humans who live in a car and house culture. We tend to move from heated/airconditioned houses to heated/air-conditioned cars to heated/air-conditioned work and isolate ourselves from life to the point where we deprive ourselves of the energy that all living things need to be healthy. It's not just the sun however, but everything the sun touches, the plants, the rocks the earth. Insulated and shielded from life, we develop more and more syndromes and illnesses because we are depriving our bodies. Here in the north, SAD has been treated effectively by adding some tanning booth time to the week and getting outside more, even in grey, wintery weather. The fresh air even helps. Our culture has not been helping because its emphasis is on isolation from the spirit, focusing on physical and mental aspects of short-term gain. So there we are also 'lacking' something vital for our health. Not because this world is so grey and dull in spirit, but because we have cut ourselves off from spirit and all the life that it is. This life is so vibrant and full of energy, yet we can't always see it or feel it. Probably because we have too much distraction, drama and trauma, and I'll add, isolation. Kind of a self-imposed 'lacking' of life. Sad.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:43 PM

November 27, 2005

Taking a day off from Blogging

Since UTHINK is upgrading the software, I'll take this opportunity to take a rest from blogging for a day. Maybe the problem with posting the questionable content: 'yo-er' word will be fixed also. haha.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:46 PM

The work I love to do

This is really the key to success. Success is defined in many ways depending on our perspective. Success doesn't necessarily equate to money. I've been in the same field since 1989. But it is not really the technical or computer stuff I love about it. It is working with people; teaching, enabling, empowering people to be able to solve problems and help themselves. The work I love to do is really tied to helping people succeed. When I'm not doing that, I'm not really happy with the tasks I'm doing. It's meaningless. I am at a crossroads now, deciding how I can best do the work that I love to do. What is the best use of my gifts, talents and resources? I don't know what form it will take yet, but some change is coming.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:42 PM

November 26, 2005

A Chorus of Nobodies

I was reading a meditation by Franz Kafka called 'Excursion into the mountains.' He says, "all these lifted arms linked together, these numberless feet treading so close! ... Our throats swell and are free in the mountains! It's a wonder that we don't burst into song." Yes, it is a wonder. There is a fellowship in being nobodies. Over the centuries there have been countless multitudes of people treated like nobobies. So many we cannot number them. We totally understand and experience the same disregard. We are so many that it is a wonder that we don't all rise up in front of the sombodies and be heard. Then we are no longer nobodies. We are sombodies in chorus. And the sound of being silenced is very loud and recognizable. Of course we are all in dress suits with our heads held high and our arms lifted up and our throats swell and are free! We join the chorus because we understand and experience together.
Why must there be such a volume of nobodies, past, present and future? How do we treat others to create such a chorus? It is truly deafening.

Posted by carl1236 at 5:12 PM

November 25, 2005

A Thai Chi moment

It's kind of funny, but through a misunderstanding, and the kindness of a coworker, I received a Thai Chi movie. He thought I was studying Chinese Mandarin and thought about me when he was in San Francisco and bought it. I'm studying mainly Korean, but the thought was very kind. And I watched the movie Wednesday night and really enjoyed it. The characters were using a fighting style of Thai-Chi, but covered both 'soft' and 'hard' techniques. And they really showed some of the aspects of Chi. For instance when one person repulsed 4 attackers at once with a 'push' from the center, or full of energy.
One thing this movie brought up is that the original Thai Chi was very spiritual and not just a fighting technique. It was more about not 'attacking' or 'resisting' but allowing the opponents forces to go through and be their own downfall. In a sense, the opponents' energy is turned against themselves.
Another cool thing they showed in the movie was the idea of conserving our own energy and using it most efficiently. This is a challenge in life sometimes. I still find myself expending energy in places that have little effect and not enough energy in other places where needed. But all things work out, I just could be more efficient with the use of my gifts, talents and resources.
The third thing I got out of this movie was repeated over and over in the movie. Many people in the movie criticized the star because he wouldn't fight the 'enemy' even after he brutalized and hurt many people. They said things like, "You studied martial arts for over 10 years and you won't use it. What good is it!!!??" The word 'tolerate' kept flashing in his mind (and on the screen). Part of the training in Thai Chi is tolerance and not to use force just because we can. The idea of tolerance is not to think of people as enemies and kill them but to use only the force necessary to deflect and dissolve their negative energy. I think 'tolerate' does not mean 'don't stand up for yourself and others,' but to use wisdom and understanding when dealing with other people. Sometimes there are many root causes to people acting out against others that we do not see. Many times it is some kind of fear that they have. Force does not resolve that fear.
I think I could have changed my situation at work before it happened if I had practiced Thai Chi and was thoughtful of these things.
I see in the past I have not learned true tolerance. It doesn't mean tolerate cruelty or abusive behaviour, but it does mean to tolerate the human being and understand where the aggression and force is coming from and find a solution that heals both parties. They are not our enemies, but friends that have not learned to love yet, and the best way to get someone to love you is by loving them, not beating them to a pulp. Using force against force is not good because what we resist, persists. It has to persist because our force requires an anti-force. So the Thai Chi lesson is really a lesson in how to love other people.
Another way to look at Thai Chi is the health and strength it brings us, which makes us strong in body and mind, keeps us centered on what is important and able to handle the challenges that come against us regardless of what those forces are.
More tolerance is actually more involvement in other peoples lives and getting to know them. That's an interesting and challenging practice to follow sometimes. It requires us to use our energy for good instead of resisting the forces of others. Thank you Craig for the movie and the timing of it. In this Thai-chi moment I understand something I did not before.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:19 AM

November 24, 2005

What a beautiful day!

What a beautiful day for downtime. Rest and relaxation is important for balance. I know this and know the benefits and necessity of rest. We simply cannot be 'up' all the time. But making time for it is difficult. I do it by writing and other artwork, by taking short walks at work through the park, by riding my bike in silence, running, reading, etc. This morning I sat around talking, enjoying a cup of coffee and napping on the couch. haha. yes, napping in the morning. Now I'm off to the barber (me in front of the bathroom mirror with sharp objects) Then shower and dress for a good meal and fellowship with relatives. What a beatiful day this is turning out to be. And it will replenish my strength and motivation to work harder at the other things in life I am doing. But for today, Relax, don't do it, be free. It's a good day to breathe in and enjoy life. And of course, to realize everything we should be thankful for.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:17 PM

November 23, 2005

Is it ok to hate people that do bad things?

Today I heard an interesting view on this. She said it was unnatural and unreal to hide our hate for someone who does bad things. Because if we hate them, and admit that we hate them, then we can also forgive them. Without hating them we don't have anything to forgive. I can kind of see her point. Of course we don't want to carry hate for a person around with us forever either, because that's not good for us. Admitting that we hate someone who did something bad allows us to forgive them and move on with life.
Becaue of my abusive boss, I've been thinking about this a lot lately. How do we love someone who is abusive? Or in the case of the man from Wisconsin who raped and cut up a young female reporter in his salvage yard, how do we love him when he commits crimes so horrible that we cannot even stand the sight of him? To the victim's family, this man is pure evil. They probably hate him and what he did. How could they forgive him, ever?
I believe now that to love someone that does evil or bad things, we should follow a code of "hate the actions, love the person." Yes, I hate the actions of my boss. He lies, is abusive and is petty, controlling and intimidating. I hate what he does to the people around me and to myself. No I don't really hate my boss, but I do hate what he's doing.
So, one way to love my boss is to not let him get away with the actions I hate. We should not let abusive people continue their abusive behaviours. I don't really want to hate my boss either. It's not healthy or a solution to the problems. But I also don't like what he's doing to me or my coworkers. I think I will be able to forgive my boss and already have in a way. I do feel bad that he is oblivious to the pain he is causing his employees. I can love this man and still hate his actions and attitudes.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:23 PM

November 22, 2005

Yes, it's still good to be thankful

Regardless of the time of year, being thankful is an attitude toward life and others that is still considered a good way to be. Gratitude is a powerful thing and recognizes a value in other people and their contributions to our life.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:46 PM

November 21, 2005

I am thankful for...

Good health
My family
The ability to see
just how thankful
I really should be.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:56 PM

The hard times will begin to fade

Joy will take their place. That was from one of the fortune cookies from last night's dinner. I think hard times is sometimes a matter of perspective and attitude. Tonight I was talking with a friend about living situations and posessions and jobs. Here is a man who is living on a few dollars a day and not complaining. He has very few posessions but a wealth of knowledge and skills. Sometimes hard times means different things to different people. What is a hard time to me seems like easy and luxurious to my friend.

Today I started making a list of what I'm thankful for. In this way, hard times do begin to fade and Joy takes their place. Hard times just don't seem as hard when we are not suffering about things and are truly thankful for what we do have and use.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:49 PM

November 20, 2005

Can you fix my bike, for free?

This morning I spent some time at the coffee shop reading the paper and talking to some people I've met there before. There is this one man who comes in regularly but I haven't been around there much in the past few months so we haven't talked in a while. The last time we talked I was seriously training on my bike and would stop by the coffee shop after my rides. He was looking for a bike then, but I wasn't really involved in the shop much at that time. Today he told me he got one for free because he was helping someone move and they were going to throw it out. He asked them if he could have it and they said, "Sure!" Then he told me that the back wheel was off and the back part of the frame was bent. hmmm. Maybe free is not so good. But it's a dumpster bike and he rescued it from the heap. Then he asked me if I could fix it. I said yes. Then he asked if I could fix it for free. I know this man is on a limited budget and has limited means, so I took a deep breath and then said, "yes." But then I added that it would have to be after Thanksgiving. So I have a free repair to do at the end of the week. He said he was inspired by me riding my bike so he wanted to use his to run short errands and not use his pickup truck so much. His truck is an old rust-bucket that probably doesn't get too great of mpg. So, anyway, I'm happy to try to fix his bike, but if the frame is bent, I'll have to help him pick out a different bike. Maybe he could help me reorganize the shop (or continue what I started a few months ago) to earn a bike.

On other bike news. my dumpster bike is sitting idle right now. I bought an old brown Schwinn Suburban to replace the one that was stolen from me a while ago. I love that bike! It's a such a smooth riding, comfort commuter bike, the cadilac of street machines. It's long and tall and has full fenders, 10 speeds, rack AND a generator light and taillight set! This one is a 1973 instead of a 1971 like my old one. So I'll use that bike for commuting when there is no bad snow on the ground, otherwise my dumpster bike is getting 27" knobby tires. That's a Schwinn Continental. I went out and bought new bulbs for it today since last night they both burned out. I rode over to Minneapolis to Spokes Pizza to deliver a couple of parts to someone there and about a mile-into my ride, the taillight burnt out. Then a block later the headlight went out. Good thing I had my backup systems with me. I found the bulbs at my local Ace Hardware, so I was happy to be able to give them some business.
Now I'm set. But I'm accumulating too many bikes. It's so easy to do though! Especially since they are such a convenient and useful mode of transportation.
Anyway, I'm happy to help my acquaintance from the coffee shop get going on a bike. There is no reason he can't be out riding that two blocks to the store instead of firing up that gas burner.

Posted by carl1236 at 4:36 PM

November 19, 2005

Bicycles and Pedestrians

I got to experience something very interesting and fun again today as I was riding my bike to the bike shop. I pulled up to a crosswalk at a red light and a man was walking by in front of me. He turned and looked at me and I said, "Good morning!" He was genuinely startled, then then he managed a head nod before turning and walking faster. I guess he wasn't used to having traffic talk to him. I don't know. We were the only two people around and the streets were pretty quiet. Maybe he was lost in his thoughts when I spoke to him. I sometimes forget when I'm on a bike that I do have a voice and can speak to people. Have you ever only nodded or felt speachless when someone talks to you while you are on your bike? How about in the skyway? In skyways people go out of their way to avoid eye contact or make conversation. Anyway, I think there is something very nice about bicycle riders and pedestrians talking. It's a very humane way to live. It's not isolated or shut off from the outside world and each other. It's very close and personal.
It's a new, brave way to live. I like it. And just saying 'hello' out loud is a step in that direction.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:57 PM

November 18, 2005

Too cool to be true

That is true love

Posted by carl1236 at 9:52 PM

November 17, 2005

Winter Cycling Revisted

Ok, it's been a couple of days now since it got cold, icy and snowy. And windy. I've been riding my bike but didn't feel like it was anything to talk about because it's not that bad. My fingers got really cold though coming home last night, but it wasn't too bad. I curled up my fingers inside my gloves to warm them up, one hand at a time so I could still brake with the other. Other than that I'm back to my original problem of skin and extremeties getting cold while my body core heats up too much and I sweat. I will probably figure out the optimum clothing to wear just as the snow is melting haha.
I am still seeing a few bicyclists out riding around and on my way to and from work the past two days I've seen someone else's tire tracks in the slush and snow ahead of me.
Also, now my chain is squealing so I'd better lube it tomorrow. I saw someone else in the shop with their mountain bike and it was covered with salt already. sad. I bet my fenders are white underneath. I haven't looked yet but my bike is not too dirty so they must be doing their job.
Winter biking is cool. very cool, but it is cool. Sometimes cold, but mostly cool. Very cool. It can be done. I'm doing it and it's ok and I'm enjoying it. So far so good, and it's hardly worth another line until something extroardinary happens.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:24 PM

November 16, 2005

Change

I don't think change is possible if we are in denial. If we are in denial of having anything to do with the problems we are creating. For my part, I am choosing to stand up for a whole department of bullied employees. But it will cost me I think because our management is protecting the bully. Today's meeting was very one sided like they had wrongdoing or part in the problems in our department. My boss sat there and lied and told the management representative that I walked out of a meeting with him and was unwilling to work with him. I couldn't believe it! He's creating a hostile environment that's intimidating and he's using his position to get me fired.
Anyway, I can only tell the truth and eventually, since he's in denial, he'll screw up again and there will be no-one to save him. He's had 3 anger related problems in the past and still management protects him and believes his lies. And what makes matters worse his this man claims to be a Christian. Not very Christ-like. This is the problem of the centuries that Jesus spoke out against. And they hung him on a cross, putting his brutalized body on display and shoved a spear in his side. "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his soul?" Or in this case, gains the miniture kingdom. I don't think abusive people see their own abusive behaviors. Change cannot happen until they do. Change won't happen here either because he's being protected and won't have to face his own problems and attitudes.
I will probably be looking for a new job eventually. I don't think I'll lose this one, but I don't think I can stick it out in this environment with an abusive, lying boss. I might be a little distressed about this, because overall I love what I'm doing and love the other people I'm working with. I get along great with other people in the organization too so that helps. I cannot see the future in this one because I'm not clear on where to go or what to do. I know I can only tell the truth and hope for someone to listen and believe what's really going on. I don't really believe that it will do anything to change an abusive manager though in this case. So I'm still trying to figure out what to do.
Life is very difficult sometimes. But maybe new opportunities will present themselves. I have to be more aware of those opening up. And I pray I am never so blinded by my own power that I abuse people and don't realize it.

Posted by carl1236 at 9:57 PM

November 15, 2005

Postponed Grievance Meeting

Tonight I'm really sad. Monday we were supposed to have a meeting to resolve the problem at work with my boss but they postponed it until Wednesday. I have a sinking feeling in my gut that this bully is going to not only get away with it but attack me with everything he can think of. I don't know what to expect. It is fear yes. I know how this man can lie and believe his lies and how he treats other people. So tomorrow I feel like the good old boys club will protect the manager and I'll be on the fast track to losing my job. Tomorrow morning at 10:00am I'll be in a meeting and we'll see what happens. Right now I feel sick to my stomach. My biggest challenge right now is how to love a man like this. He will get nasty I feel. How do I love this man? Maybe standing up to a bully and not letting him get away with it is a way of showing love? Life is not easy. It's easy to love the ones that are loveable. Everyone can do that. But not so easy to love the jerks. I don't want to see him lose his job either, which I don't think will happen in this case because management will protect him, but I do want him to change. Is this unreasonable to want? I want him to treat other human beings with respect. Is that unreasonable to want? One thing that makes me sick is by bosses almost joyous persona today, almost gloating. He was unusually happy and light. He must think that he doesn't have to worry at all and that he has me where he wants me. I don't know what to expect now. Unless he's in denial or told not to worry by management. Probably a little of both. He's going to try to sling mud, but I'm not going to play along. I don't wish this on anyone. Good luck on your future careers. Some people do not make very loving choices toward other people. That brings me back to how do I love a man like this? By having courage, seeing this through and finding a way to help him? Maybe I will only make a difference after he's gotten rid of me and he's old and has a chance to think about his life. Maybe he'll remember all the lives he's damaged. Who knows. Right now it's not easy for me. I'm going to go to bed early, read and get a good night's rest.
Tomorrow night I'll be at the bike shop and then write my blog entry when I get home. Maybe I'll be looking for a new job soon. We'll see.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:20 PM

November 14, 2005

Human lives at work

If you really love your neighbor as yourself then you are not seperate from that love just because you are at work. There is no seperation of Church and State when it comes to doing God's will, which is to Love God and Love your fellow human beings. There is no room for greed or selfishnish or building our own little kingdoms in this equation. We cannot pretend to be good in Church on the weekends or evenings then go to work and treat others like they are property, as less than equal, or having less 'value.' Many people think the focus and purpose of this life is to 'get what we can out of it,' no matter what it does to others. Life at work should be no different than life at home. How we treat others is just as important at work as anywhere else, including church. What does it profit us if we gain control of the sandbox and lose our soul?

Posted by carl1236 at 11:49 PM

November 13, 2005

Gertrude Stein Reads Franz Kafka

I know what I know because it is all that I know. I know that Franz Kafka wrote a story called Metamorphosis. I know that because I have read it. I can know that I know that because I have read it. I read it and I know it. It is all that I know because I know it. I have heard this story before before. I heard it before I have read it. I knew it before I knew it.
The story is about Gregor Samsa, a traveling salesman. A traveling salesman who turns into a Dung Beetle, an insect. An insect that is repulsive to his own family. A traveling salesman that is repulsive to his own family. A Dung Beetle is evidently repulsive. I know that it is repulsive to some people because I have seen how they react to large insects. It is repulsive because they are huge insects and cling to you when they get on your clothing or hair. I know this freaks people out because I’ve been freaked out before. It is something I can relate to. I knew it before I read it. Now I have read it and know that I know it. Repulsive. I know.
Gregor lived with his parents and sister. His parents and sister were poor and Gregor took care of them. His parents and sister were poor because Gregor took care of them. Gregor made sure they knew they were poor. And made sure they knew he took care of them. They knew they were poor because they were told they were poor. They knew they could not take care of themselves. Gregor took care of them because they could not care for themselves. They knew this. Gregor knew that they knew this. That is why they could not take care of themselves and they knew it.
When Gregor became an insect and no longer took care of his family, his family took care of themselves. They took care of themselves because they had to. They took care of Gregor. Gregor was living off the labor of the poor. The poor family who could not take care of themselves but now could. They could take care of themselves but were told they could not. They could not because they knew they could not. But now they knew they could. Without Gregor. This was liberating. Oh, I know it’s liberating because it’s liberating to be free of a Lord of great self-importance. Gregor was a Lord of great self-importance who lorded it over his family. He lorded it like a great benefactor who’s only purpose in life was to lord it over them. They knew this because Gregor told them. Gregor told them because he was an insect. Then he became a real insect and could no longer take care of them. And they took care of themselves because they knew they could. They knew they could after after. After Gregor no longer could and after they knew Gregor no longer could, they could.
After Gregor died, and he died of starvation because he wasn’t eating, they moved away from the house Gregor had chosen for them. The Father, Mother and sister all moved away into a smaller, more affordable house that they knew they could afford. They managed their own affairs at that point and they knew they were able to care for themselves because they were doing it. They knew it. The insect was dead and they knew it and were liberated.
There is a good story in here, I know it. I have heard it before I read it. I know it because I have heard it and I have read it. I know it because I have met insects like this. I have met insects like Gregor and know how they are being insects even while they don’t know they are insects. When they know they are insects then they know they have been insects are being insects and they die. The insects die as insects. I know it. They know it. But it is too late to take back the metamorphosis. They are already insects and are used to it. They are used to being insects and don’t know how to transform back. They don’t know how because they are used to being insects and know it. We know it. We know it before they know it. They do not know we know it before they know it, until they know it and it’s too late to know it. Then they know it and we know it. Know what an insect is and know it before becoming one. Know it because you don't want to be one. Know it before before. Know it before becoming and before we know it. It's better to see one than to be one and know it. Do you know it.

Thank you Gertrude Stein (1874-1946) for the interesting review of “Metamorphosis” by Franz Kafka, (1883 –1924). Stop by anytime Gertrude, it was fun. Hehe.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:25 AM

November 12, 2005

Four Sheets of Paper in an Hour!

Tonight my wife and I made paper together. We worked as a team and were able to make four sheets in an hour. That was enough for one night and considering the labor and time involved for two people it was hardly worth it economically. But it was totally worth it from a different viewpoint. As far as our relationship goes, this was worth a milllion bucks. It's something we can do together and that we both can use. It recycles our used paper, like old bills we no longer need to have on file, and it's really cool looking paper! We both had fun with it. Making paper is not really difficult, just messy and time consuming. But what else do we have to do with our lives besides spend time together and help each other out? Life is life, and it's short. And love is love and it's good to find things we enjoy doing together. This, we discovered, is one of them.
Tonight we blended up some old white computer paper with a gray beverage holder from McDonalds. It produces a beautiful light-gray paper with some speckles in it. This time though, we addes two teaspoons of liquid starch to the pulp because I read that it can help reduce bleeding when printing ink onto the paper. We'll see how it goes.
Regardless, one attitude lesson I can gain from this is: It's worthwile doing if we enjoy it and we can share it together. All other things such as time and monetary value just seem to fall way then.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:41 PM

November 11, 2005

Self Isolation

I know it's not real healthy to isolate ourselves when we are having problems. But it is a natural mode of self-protection. When we are having difficulties, we don't want to share them with other people because of a fear of being seen as somehow 'less,' or 'weaker.' We don't want to air our 'dirty' laundry. So we keep things inside and isolate ourselves from that kind of pain.
Some people are lucky to have really close friends who provide a certain amount of safety when confiding in each other. They may not even realize how healthy this is. One of the problems we have in society is that there are too many people facing challenges alone while surrounded by people. Feeling alone while facing problems is disheartening and isolating. I think in our society we have it backwards. We think that it is courageous to face our internal struggles and fears alone, while putting on a front that there are no problems. Putting on a face that says, "I'm in control." But it is fear of rejection and scorn that keeps our troubles inside. It takes great courage to share our inner-most fears and problems and weaknesses with others. And isn't that the only way we not feel 'alone?'
Going into the confession booth at church was never supposed to mean 'confess your sins and be forgiven' but was a safe way to let out our inner troubles and share them with someone else, someone tangible who will not chide us and condemn, ridicule or think less of us. In safely confessing to someone tangible we gain a sense of not being alone in the struggle. And there are always struggles in life. If you look at confession in this light you can see how beneficial this can be. Confession at church is just an example of course, because a sister, brother, long-time friend, mom, dad, roommate, boyfriend, girlfriend, etc. can all provide a sense of not facing the world alone.
But it's hard. It's so hard sometimes that we find it easier to just keep it all inside. That is not brave. It's being alone.
I find comfort in knowing that I am never alone. I know that God is always present, always listening and understanding and I can share my problems and struggles. In one respect it's like confession. We can talk to God and God listens and we know that someone else is privy to our inner-most-thoughts and struggles and we are not alone. Of course you have to not only believe in God for this to be useful to you, but also believe that God is always with us and always listening and real, tangible. Otherwise we might as well confess to the rock. We are still alone. Belief in this way is not just 'thinking' something is true, but also feeling and knowing it's true by experience. And like any relationship, we cannot truly know and experience each other without communicating and sharing our inner-self with each other. So our relationship with God is the same way. We have to build it and get to know God and feel God's presences in our life, deepening our understanding of each other and not being alone.
Right now I am facing some serious and troubling things in life. For instance I'm dealing with a couple of self-centered, ego driven people who have disdain for other people and their ideas of working together. They are very vocal and accusatory also. It's difficult to share these kinds of struggles with anyone because first of all I am choosing to be involved in this. I could walk away from it, but to me that's not a good solution. When things get really bad, that's when help is really needed. So I try to figure out how to deal with these problems, first internally, then with the understanding and help of others, including God. Sharing with others some internal struggles like how to deal with people like this can be frightening. I see the problems in the bike shop, but we are dealing with live, breathing human beings and pointing those problems out can be seen as complaining and making waves. It is fearful to be seen as a trouble maker. But I only want to make things better for all the people involved, not tear things down. So I turn this all over and over in my mind and heart and it agitates and stirrs my emotions. Sometimes I am very hopeful and sometimes it's downright depressing. Like when someone comes in and throws a temper tantrum and thinks that's an ok way to treat others. Or like the other day when Dave was in the coffee shop next door making an espresso, this other person made a comment that was totally rude and humiliating toward Dave. He said, "Are you going to run the coffee shop like you run the bike shop?" This is disheartening to me. The person making these comments does not understand what he's doing to other human beings and doesn't see anything wrong with what he's doing. He will feel like he's the best thing since sliced bread and no-one else can do things better, all the while being petty and self-centered. I have to share this with someone to know I am not alone in thinking this person is making some bad choices in how to treat other people. That person has an attitude of tearing down other people instead of helping and building up. I talked to God about how to handle this situation and the response from God is a peace inside that I'm going in the right direction and to hang in there, I'm doing the right thing in defending the mocked and the belittled members of our group. The strength of any team is in how they treat their most vulnerable members. This answer from God is very comforting and in the following example God expands the answer.
At work I'm dealing with a sticky situation right now. I have an abusive boss who will use his position of authority to intimidate and belittle others to maintain power and control. This is the same boss who has made several of his employees cry in meetings and has had a negative impact on the moral of our department. Last week he gave me a written reprimand for being 'non-communicative' and not working with him. He stated some lies in the reprimand and wrote that if I don't change, it will lead to my termination. He doesn't realize that he is abusing his position nor the psychological damage he's doing to the whole department. I'm filing a grievance and may end up losing my job over this, because I don't think it's right what he's doing. He doesn't see anything wrong and feels justified in what he's doing. I only hear positive feedback about my contributions to my coworkers and other activities I'm involved in at work, so I don't think it's me that is a problem. He creates an atmosphere of fear and abuse and then tries to fire me for not being cooperative. I am cooperating, with my coworkers and the law. But who do I share this struggle with? Thankfully there are people at work that I trust and understand. God is also with me and I'm thankful for the peace and understanding. I have to keep tightening the binds that hold things together, and do the things that are good and right and helpful to the one's that are being abused and diminished in value. Not tear down, but build others up. Treat others with dignity and respect and love. You can see why it's so tough to share feelings and expose ours inner-struggles. I still feel like I could end up losing my job by standing up for myself and the others in my department, but I can't let this bully continue his phsychological tryanny. Every day I listen to my coworkers complain about our boss. So where does this leave me? If I continue to allow it happen I lose my soul, and what does it profit us if we gain the whole world and lose our souls? Keeping my job doesn't seem nearly as important. He went after several of my coworkers, and the last time I stepped in. Now he is after me and trying to make me look bad and fire me. I am deeply saddened by this. I will continue to be a friend and help to those most vulnerable at work and I am a little afraid of having to go out and find another job. I don't want to. I shouldn't have to. But it may come to that. I accept that. It's ugly though and this is why it's so easy to feel alone in this struggle. Why do people have to be such jerks? It doesn't gain them love or acceptance and their power is short lived. I know God understands.

Posted by carl1236 at 1:26 PM

People are not really evil, but we do make bad choices

This is a difficult topic for many people. Good verses Evil is almost always spoken of in terms of 'opposites.' But instead of labeling actions as evil, we tend to think that a person capable of actions that are evil is really an evil person. An evil person can be judged and condemned for 'being' evil. Being is a state of existence. The problem with evil as a state of existence is that it precludes any act of love. Many people that do evil things also love and want to be loved. So it is not the case that we are one or the other. We can however make bad choice.

Posted by carl1236 at 3:25 AM

November 10, 2005

Many Possibilities

There are many possibilities in life. It is good to dream and experiment and find what is possible. Possibilities are hopeful. It's when we feel like there are no possibilities that we feel hopeless. I hope to see possibilities in my daily encounters.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

November 9, 2005

How much lighter I feel now

I feel like all the efforts I've been putting in to save a sinking ship are finally starting to work. There is a lot to be done still, but there are new people getting involved and tonight we elected a new Treasurer. That's a key position in a non-profit organization that we've been missing since January. And recently several other new people have approached me, with enthusiasm, volunteering their energies to help make this work. After tonight's board meeting, I feel lighter, less burdened. I am encouraged by the willingness of others to selflessly jump in and help out, not expecting anything in return.
I just have to keep going, strengthening the board, getting new members and old members more involved and developing the teamwork in the whole organization.
One thing though; If anyone believes that it's in the best interest of the community or this organization to simply close up shop and distribute the assets to others, they are completely missing the beauty of what we have going here! It shows a lack of understanding of what has been created and the value in it. I feel lighter also because I've found others who do see the beauty in what we are doing right now and want to see that stick around.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:59 PM

Being part of a team

One thing I see lacking in the bike ship is the idea that we are a team. Some people suggest that if anyone has an idea they should be willing to step up to the plate and put in the time and do it, or shut up. This mentality negates the idea that no one person can do anything without the cooperation and help of many other people who are effected by whatever it is they are doing. For instance doing rentals of a fleet of 15-30 bikes requires the input and efforts of at least 5 or 6 people and impacts the use of space in the shop. Someone (not the same person) has to work on the bikes, tune them up, check for safety, negotiate and make the arrangements with the group renting the bikes, deliver the bikes, do the billing, pick up the bikes, staff the event or rental, pick up bikes that break down, repair them or replace them, etc. And then if we are doing fleet rentals space is needed to store the bikes when not being rented and someone has to maintain them and make sure they are ready to go. It all impacts the shop, the volunteers and the paid staff. No one person can do things in isolation without the cooperation of others. The first bike rental I did, I felt really isolated. I ended up pulling an all-nighter fixing bikes for the rental. Not a single person from the whole organization, including the president stepped up to help make it happen. It took the help of an outsider to help me get it done. The second rental went way better because I got more people involved in prepping the bikes and repairing and delivering the bikes. Not all one person. Many people were involved and it showed me who the real team is. This is a team effort. So building teamwork is one of the most important tasks we can do. If we are not building teamwork we are actually self-destructing. We are a team and that is one of the aspects of the bike ship I see that needs to be strengthened. There is no denying it is weak right now. But I see improvements. It will change and improve the more we work together instead of just snearing and pointing the finger and blame on why it's not working. Teams figure things out together, not from the top down, but from inside out. Every team member needs to be actively involved in contributing to the team, and not just pointing the finger at the other team members and chiding them for not being part of the team. 'Being' part of a team means we are part of the solution to problems and help the other members of the team be the best they can be.
As leaders of a team it is easy to forget or dismiss the contributions of others and take all the credit. It is also easy to forget we cannot do it by ourselves. Until we find out that there is no longer a team to support us. They've all jumped ship. That is why team-building is one of the most important tasks we have. It effects everyone in the organization.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:56 PM

Intelligent Design

One of the arguments that surfaces in elections all across the nation is this conflict between teaching 'intelligent design' verses science and 'evolution.' I am telling you right now that there is really no conflict between science and God. We make it a conflict. Science is truly about uncovering the truth. In Science we may make theories and then try to prove them or disprove them. It's a discovery process. Believe this, that there is no conflict between creationism and the discovery process. There is a conflict between people's attitudes toward others though. So what if God created living beings over centuries of evolution or in an instant! We are here. let's uncover the truth of our origins and test our theories. Eventually science discovers what is true because it is the process of discovery. True science is not a doctrine of 'Evolution,' against 'Creationism,' although can be just as dogmatic and false as religions, because of non-scientific bias and treating theory as fact and discounting beliefs without facts. One theory is 'creationism through Evolution.' Another is 'creationism in an instant.' Another theory is 'no intelligent design,' just random evolution or natural selection. There are also facts that we cannot explain. True Science would not say creationism is wrong, it would say, "If Creationism is true, then what evidence is there to support it? And what form does 'creation' take? I create things every day. Does that make them evolutionary or created? Do my creations appear out of nowhere or are they a derivation of bits and pieces of influences and encounters of my life process? Let this be a lesson in Science and Creationism. There is only a conflict if we want there to be a conflict. Then it's not Science and it's not Religion. It's an attitude problem. A problem where we are no longer willing to uncover the truth. Maybe we can at least believe in our existence here in this form. Somehow we got here. Let's believe this together and realize that how we got here is to be discovered. Where we are going after this is to be discovered. No conflict. There is definately intelligent design to life. It's beautiful beyond words. We are slowly discovering how it all works. Awareness of how it all works is very valuable for living life. So we should not fight true science and not consider it an opposite of 'creationism,' but a compliment. Truth eventually is discovered. Look what we have learned over the centuries!!!! Beautiful how this intelligent design works. Inquiring minds want to know the truth and ignorance is not bliss, it's just ignorance and causes suffering.
As far as Evolution verses Creationism goes, Let's always seek the truth and we will find it. Jesus promised that and it is true. There is no conflict. There is only discovery and awe and the revealing of the truth. Don't be small and stubborn and unaware. Both 'sides' are guilty of this. It's not science or belief in God that creates this, but simply ignorance. And don't feel guilty for your belief in God. It's as real as the awe that science uncovers. True belief in God also uncovers awe in what has been created and how it was done. No matter what we beleive we really believe in the same thing. Life. Life is amazing and truly unique and inspiring. Science uncovers how things work. It's true. Our spirituality also uncovers how things work. This is also true. Eventually we learn about love and life and death. Somehow I came into existence, whether that was centuries ago or yesterday. Somehow I exist and it doesn't really matter how I got here, except that we can use any information available to us to better our human condition while here, now. DNA suggests we are all related. But even so, that does not tell me how to live my life currently and cannot absolve me of loving others. Are we intelligent enough to know that it is in our own best interest to love others? Are we intelligent enough to design a life that is clean and beneficial to the planet? Are we intelligent enough to create instead of destroy what we've been given? Or will we ultimately turn out to be the 'unintelligent design?' In that case 'Intelligent Design' and 'Evolution' both suck. Let's evolve into something more than what we have been given. Is it possible? Time will tell.

Posted by carl1236 at 12:42 AM

November 8, 2005

Talk to anyone who has committed suicide

From a news article about the astronauts working on the space station, to help put life in perspective:

"Some of the bolts holding the instrument in place were missing and engineers were concerned it could break free and hit the station. McArthur removed it and hurled it off into space, pretending to throw a football.
"Pretty impressive," replied astronaut Rick Linnehan from Mission Control in Houston.
Engineers expect the instrument to fly freely for up to 150 days before being pulled back and incinerated in Earth's atmosphere."

I repeat that last line... "Engineers expect the instrument to fly freely for up to 150 days before being pulled back and incinerated in Earth's atmosphere."

Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. In the grand scheme of things we are all pulled back to mother earth. Incinerated, obliterated and used as fodder or fuel. That is one of the natures of this physical lifespan. I accept that. I know it's truth. But the total picture, or whole truth is in life and love. What is deceiving to us is that we are done when we are pulled back to the earth. Of course we would fear death when we believe that deception!

Talk to anyone who has committed suicide and they will tell you. Life does indeed go on and suicide is not a solution. Immediately after the physical death we get to ponder and know the truth of what just happened. It's not over and we realize what a shame that was. Still I don't blame the football that is tossed into space when it discovers that it is not truly free and is going to burn up in the atmosphere. It has no choice but to accept it's plight. Still I don't blame the thrower, because in this case it's the self who believes that they are relieving their own suffering by escaping. There is a deep, deep sadness surrounding suicide. It is like a waste of a great gift. And we do realize it. There is an "afterlife" and we become fully aware of what we have done. It is just that way. Philosophers can debate all we want about the after life, but we all experience it and it's what comes next. The physical body returns to the earth, sucked back by gravity and the need to fertilize and replenish what was taken from it. Life goes on in the form of nourishment and renewal. So life goes on after the physical death. We can debate all we want but we all will find out. Houdini claimed that he would cheat death and send a message back from the other side. As far as I really know he has not found a way to do that, at least publicly like many of his stunts. But there is this thought to ponder: "Sometimes death happens before we die." Many people believe in life after death but still are afraid of it and don't really believe it. But when it happens we not only believe but we understand more about life. Death is a great equalizer I've heard, and we all will die, but we have not yet experienced it. We are flying footballs in space, thinking we are free, but eventually we are pulled back in to return to mother earth. That is the way of things. So eventually, with technology and flu vaccinations we may slow or stop the aging of this physical body. But sometimes death hapens before we die and life seems like more of a hell than we can deal with. Still if we try to escape it, we miss something great and feel the regret. One thing we will miss is the 'opportunity' we had in life. There is opportunity in life. Opportunity to gain wisdom. In fact that is a good goal in life. "Opportunity to gain Wisdom." That is life. It's better to gain that wisdom to now than after the fact. After we are dead and can no longer change the outcome. Missed opportunity.

Life is worth living.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:26 PM

Find a penny have good luck, but even better...

Find a piece of paper, pick it up, read it and have good health:

"Make Snacks Healthy and Fun!!!

Use pretzel sticks or toothpicks to pick up pieces of fruit, cheese, meats, etc.
Wrap shredded veggies (carrots, broccoli, cucumber, peppers) with ranch dressing in a tortilla.
Use pudding or yogurt as a dip.

Nutty Quesadillas
4 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts, chopped
1 can chopped green chilies, drained (optional)
Top each tortilla with 1/4 cup cheese, 2 Tablespoons peanuts and 1/4 of the chilies; fold in half. Spray skillet with cooking spray and heat, add one quesadillas cook 2-3 minutes or until bottom is brown turn over and cook 3 minutes more or until golden brown. Remove from skillet. Cut into four. Serve with salsa if you wish. Makes 4 = 16 servings. Because of peanuts best served to children over age 2."

What luck!

Posted by carl1236 at 8:59 PM

Two Kafkas

It's a very interesting coincidence that happened to me yesterday in the past two days. I went to the art store on Sunday and bought a book on Linoleum block printing by Francis Kafka. Then yesterday I got an interesting book of collected works by Franz Kafka. What do I do with this? This coincidence is very artful. Block Printer and Writer. Francis wrote a book about block printing. Francis is a self-publishing illustrator using block printing. Fanz was a Czech-born German-speaking writer who did not allow many of his works to be published. Much of his acclaimed work was published after he died. Now Franz meets Francis in my hands, two Kafkas with similar first names intersecting in time and space. I'm enjoying both.

Posted by carl1236 at 7:35 PM

November 7, 2005

Hey Nice Bike!

Today I heard that a fellow blogger had visited the Bike Depot and wrote about it. I checked it out and now remember our conversation when he was in the shop. We were talking about tall 3-speeds. In his blog, he mentioned a cool bike that I had been riding around for a few days, but it wasn’t really my Schwinn, it was the Shop’s. He was right though, it was a cool bike with folding baskets on the rear that I thought were very handy.
My current commuter bike is a Schwinn also, but not nearly as polished as the one I borrowed. My bike came out of the trash heap. It looks like it too, but it also rides really smoothly. Well, since my mind was on the dumpster bike, here is a little review. Tonight riding home I was thinking just how luck I really am to be healthy enough to ride a bike, let alone ride something that came from other people’s trash!

Birth of the Dumpster Bike: http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carl1236/dailyspirit/024433.html

The Dumpster Bike Revived:
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carl1236/dailyspirit/026137.html

The current state of the Dumpster Bike:
http://blog.lib.umn.edu/carl1236/dailyspirit/030760.html

On the way home tonight a man in a wheelchair sitting alone on the sidewalk in the dark barked at me as I rode by. I said hello. He just stared. I rode up the hill on my nice bike with my nice legs and was truly thankful for what I have. I am truly blessed.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:34 PM

November 6, 2005

That black spot is my social security number

Today as I was dozing off on the couch, in a state of half-awake-half-asleep, I had an inspiration. I had been researching block printing in order to get going on producing the cover of my next 'Zine' issue and as I was in my state of delerium somehow an earlier conversation with my wife crept in about not throwing some of our old bills out in the garbage because they had our social security numbers and other revealing information on such as bank account numbers. Earlier we had discussed getting a paper shredder to help prevent identity theft. In my dreamy state it came out like this:
Cut the documents up, blend it with water, make paper, print on them with the linoleum blocks. Use some for hanging on the wall and some for the covers. Cool idea. So I got everything I needed and made paper tonight! It is really cool. And I assumed that those little black specks in the paper are the spots with ink, such as my social security number. I doubt if anyone can use it now, hehe.
Paper making is fun and I discovered something artistic that my wife will do with me. That is even better! Except she's going to use the new, recycled paper for making home-made cards and I'm going to print on it.
I never thought that distroying old records and recycling could be so much fun and lead to such a nice product. Now I'm going to do a few more sheets before bed. This time with color added! ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 11:15 PM

Time, aging and work

Time, aging and work changes people. Here is some more archeology for you; an excerpt from a journal from about 20 years ago:

"My first quarter in college is almost over. On December 5th my final exam in science, December 9th math, December 11th language and that's it for this quarter.
I don't like college so far. Will I ever make it through?"

In May of the following Spring, there is this entry in the journal:

"I started college in the Fall. My grades were ok. In the Winter they fell below a 2.0 average. So far it looks pretty grim. I'm failing math and doing very poorly in science. To top it all off I'm short $400 this month to pay our bills. My wife was depressed about this today and that made things worse. So I had to reassure her that we'll make it just fine. But who is going to reassure me?"

Then one year after starting college:

"This is Fall quarter at the University. Money is even tighter now than ever before. I'm getting about 4 hours of sleep per night and I bombed a midterm in Geology already this quarter. I'm beginning to wonder what I'm doing, and even why I'm doing it. It all makes sense in the long run, but I wish I knew the secret to surviving day to day. I guess if there is a secret it would be to stop complaining, plan a course of action and do what has to be done."

The next two pages were ripped out of the journal, twenty years ago. I think the contents of those two pages were too painful to document in writing. I walked away from college the following Fall and got a full-time job in a factory.

A year and a half later:

"I quit my job on February 26th and started school on the 29th. I'm getting high grades so far. I believe this was a great decision. So far I like this school."

Two years after that:

"I'm very optimistic about my future career plans. I'm educating myself again (night school)..."

I think there is always hope no matter how bad things seem.

Posted by carl1236 at 10:09 AM

November 5, 2005

Trumpety-Trump-Trump, Trumpety-Trumpety-Trump

Last night I saw 'Shovel' at the Artist Quarter. I went to see the trumpet player, Brent Sandy. He was fantastic! I loved the Angola Prison song. It was fun going there with my friend and seeing and hearing the trumpet player in person, was nothing short of inspiring. So this morning I pulled out my trumpet and practiced. All the memories came back to me and I remembered how fun it was to practice my trumpet. But sadly it's been so long that my lips no longer had a memory for being able to hold those notes or hit the high ones. These muscles were weak after neglecting them. I had no staying power. But this practice motivated me to practice more. I was truly motivated to get back at it after seeing Brent play live, sitting about 4 feet from him, practically feeling the vibrations coming through the air.
This morning for practice I played 'The sound of music.' that was one of my favorite songs on the trumpet, especially when I could play the notes cleanly. Ah well, practice, strengthening my lips, will produce that again.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:29 AM

November 4, 2005

slow-motion nightmare

Today was an interesting idea. It started out as a sleepy dream and progressed into a tired daydream. I wandered through my mind, fading in and out, contemplating my slow-motion movements and slurred thoughts.
I was there at work trying to get some work done. Everything I started was delayed and interupted and rescheduled. Every task required unexpected steps to accomplish. I finally discovered that I was fighting a fog. I was resisting a quicksand that tightened the more I struggled. When I realized that I just needed to do what I had to do without worrying about the end result, I was able to move forward. As the afternoon wore on I was mentally involved in what I was doing, almost losing track of time, leaving work late instead of watching the clock waiting for the day to be over. Analyzing the nature of resistence, it is like the slow-motion nightmare. We know it's not real but can't seem to get out of it fast enough. The 'enemy' is catching up to us and we move slower and slower until we are consumed. Worry about the outcome can be a source of resistence. Instead of focusing on things that actually solve our dilemma, we focus on the fear and worry and it makes us feel like we are helpless. When we focus on troubleshooting, step by step, one step leading to another, unfolding the hidden causes, time unwraps itself and reveals clarity. The fog lifts and our speed is natural and free. Doing and being healthy and free of fear is not always easy when we are slogging in self-doubt and fear of what is going to happen, and it is really the focus on working it out that will set us free.
After I realized work was over today, I shut everything down, rode over to the bike shop and had a good conversation with Terry and Tom. Then I rode over to a grocery store on 7th where we got a 50 cent soda from the machine outside and sat talking for a while. The thought that struck me was, "This is a good use of my time." In a time when I'm incredibly busy, have a lot of committments, I'm riding my bike with Tom, going to movies with Tom, eating dinner with Tom and chatting with Tom. At a time when I am overloaded with thoughts about how things will turn out, spending time with Tom seems like a good use of time, building a relationship and friendship, which will do more to solve problems in this life than worrying about outcomes. We always worry about outcomes and results don't we? We tend to worry about how it will all play out, when it's playing out as we go through it. In this case I feel like I'm aware that this is the real part and not the fog, the quicksand. As I go through it, I am creating a friendship and hearing another soul tell his story.
Tonight I was invited to go check out some Jazz with a good trumpet player at the Artist's Quarters in downtown St. Paul. So it will be a nice night out with a new friend enjoying some good music. This is a new friend that's really into music. He's a great guy and loves to play guitar himself. I have a feeling I'll be going to the open mic night sometime to hear him play. I feel like this is and important part of going through it, being aware of other's needs and giving not only our time, but also our friendship and ear. Going through it being aware of the tasks at hand we are not in quicksand or a nightmare, but know we are right where we are supposed to be and when we look at the time, we can hardly believe the shift is over. I am right where I'm supposed to be. Going to hear some Jazz trumpet with a new friend.

Posted by carl1236 at 8:25 PM

November 3, 2005

Second night of BSL

Tonight was the second night of "Bikes as a Second Language," (BSL). It was very good. I lost one student from the first week because he had to work in his uncle's store, but I gained another student who has been in the US for one year. I have to say they are very good learners and already know how to change flats, patch tubes, check for holes in the tires, adjust rear derailers, adjust brakes, change a derailer cable and housing and say the names of 10 tools. Oh, and they know the difference between presta and schraeder valves! ;-) Bikes are a beautiful language and so is enthusiasm and a desire to learn.

Posted by carl1236 at 11:55 PM

November 2, 2005

Team Building and Community Building

Tonight the bike ship worked together with a big corporation to build and bring 12 kids bmx bikes to some kids in the neighborhood. Our neighborhood. It was a good collaboration. They bought new bikes. They were having a sales meeting with their reps from all over the country and wanted to have a team-building exercise that also had a sense of purpose. We set up 4 workstations and instructed and gave pointers while they build the bikes. We picked out an organization in our area that was focused on community building. It was a great relationship. The corporation gets to give, we get to give and 12 kids get to receive new bikes. This is a good thing.
Tonight was fun. And everyone involved really enjoyed it. Now I'm totalled. I have to crash and burn :-) This is also a good thing. Tomorrow night is BSL night. ;-)

Posted by carl1236 at 11:44 PM

November 1, 2005

Attacked by a dog

Tonight while riding home from the bike shop a dog came charging out from between a couple of houses, into the street and was snapping at my right leg, barking at me. Obviously it startled me and I didn't know what to do. Should I have stopped pedaling or sped up? I yelled at the dog in a stern voice, "Go home!" and it backed off. Then it regained steam and came charging after me again, at which point my amazing and extensive dog language came out again, "Go home!" and the dog backed away again and stopped chasing me. I probably could have said anything with the tone of voice I used on the dog and it would have backed down. But even though it worked, I was more than a little shaken by it. I had enough adrenaline to get me home for sure!

Posted by carl1236 at 11:56 PM